As the title implies, this article assumes you are using rails 4.2 and resque for background jobs. I suppose it also assumes that you want to quickly debug a piece of code. To be clear, the best way to make sure your code doesn’t have issues is to make sure you have full test coverage. However, I had a problem recently that my test was saying was working but in production it wasn’t working. The only way I know to fix such a thing is to work through it with a debugger and fix and then write a test that recreates the situation. Hopefully this short tutorial can help you if you find yourself in a similar spot.

let’s get started..

First, stop any background workers you might have running so that you don’t process the job accidentally.

Next, If you are using ruby > 2.1 you’ll want to be using byebug for all of your debugging needs. Add it to your Gemfile.

  # Gemfile
  gem "byebug"

Next run the following command from a terminal

bundle install

Now that we have byebug we are ready to get started. Open up the offending code. In my case the background job was being executed via the following code.

  class GeneralBackgrounder < BaseTask
    extend Resque::Plugins::ExponentialBackoff
    @queue = :low_priority
    @backoff_strategy = [30, 60, 600, 3600, 7200]

    def self.perform(constant,action,options,*args)
      # add debugger stopping point here this will halt the execution and allow you to inpect what's happening.
      options ||= {}

      constant = const_get(constant)
      object = options[:object_id] ? constant.find(options[:object_id]) : nil
      if object.nil?
        object = options["object_id"] ? constant.find(options["object_id"]) : nil
      item = object || constant
      execute_job_with_item(args, item, action, options)


    def self.execute_job_with_item(args, item, action, options)
      if item.respond_to?(action)
        args.empty? ? item.send(action.to_sym) : item.send(action.to_sym, *args)


The next thing you will have to do is trigger the action that queues up the background job so that you have at least one of the background job in your queue. Once that’s complete you should trigger the rails console to give yourself an interactive session.

./bin/rails c

# after session launches, debugging begins
# first we will want to make sure we are logging to to STDOUT

Resque.logger =

# now that we can see log messages easily we will work on the queue.
# replace [YOURQUEUENAME] with the name of the queue you where the job has been placed.
# this is the CLI for executing a resque worker.'[YOURQUEUENAME]', {}).work

When your job executes it will launch into the debugger from there you can inspect variables and follow the code execution path. Here is a cheatsheet to get you started.

If you found this article helpful then please leave a comment.